June 27, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Middle East Defense Network Against Iran Is Already Working - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    The U.S. hopes to use President Biden's upcoming visit to the region to publicly announce the launch of a regional aerial defense system against Iran.
    In practice, there is already sweeping cooperation between the Americans and various Mideast countries, in intelligence sharing, linked radar systems and deployment of interception methods.
    See also Jordan's King Would Support a Middle East NATO - Abigail Ng (CNBC)

Hajj Flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia Included in Talks to Improve Ties - Felicia Schwartz (Financial Times-UK)
    Discussions are underway on a deal that would allow Arab Israelis to fly directly to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj pilgrimage. Currently, they fly via Amman in Jordan.
    The initiative is one of several being discussed ahead of U.S. President Biden's trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia next month, all with the aim of helping the former foes inch toward more normal ties.

Google Stockholders Vote Against BDS Proposal on Israel - Michael Starr (Jerusalem Post)
    Alphabet stockholders voted to reject a stockholder proposal against Google's work on Israel's Project Nimbus, intended to provide cloud services for the Israeli government.
    The vote was 55 million for the proposal and 544 million against. The Alphabet board of directors had recommended to vote against it.

Police by Day, Terrorists by Night: The PA Security Forces' Double Role - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Palestinian Media Watch)
    A new video released by Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party on May 25, 2022, emphasizes that U.S.-trained and funded PA Security Forces fulfill a double role: "By day Security Forces, and by night self-sacrificing fighters."
    The video glorifies four members of the PA Security Forces arrested or killed during gun battles with Israeli forces combating terror.
    The active participation of the PA Security Forces in acts of terror is well known and is often cited as a source of pride by Fatah members.
    On July 13, 2021, Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub asserted: "12% of the prisoners in the [Israeli] prisons are members of the [PA] Security [Forces]." This means that 600 members of the PA Security Forces have been arrested for their direct participation in acts of terror.
    The writer served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps and was director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.

UN Teachers Call to Murder Jews (UN Watch)
    A new UN Watch report exposes anti-Semitism and incitement to terrorism propagated recently by 10 more UNRWA teachers and other employees, in addition to more than 100 UNRWA educators and staff previously exposed.
    UN Watch is calling on the UNRWA's major funders - including the U.S., Germany, the UK and the EU - to ensure that none of their combined $1.2 billion of donations fund teachers of hate.
    For example, on May 11, 2022, UNRWA Lebanon teacher Elham Mansour posted on Facebook: "By Allah, anyone who can kill and slaughter any Zionist and Israeli criminal, and doesn't do so, doesn't deserve to live....All Israel deserves is death."

Israeli Tech's Foods of the Future - Josh Kaplan (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    At Bee-io in Rehovot, CEO Ofir Dvash and his scientist sister, Efrat Dvash-Riesenfeld, have created a range of honey-based products and flavored honeys from plant matter that look, smell and taste like honey.
    Wilk is working on non-livestock-sourced milk engineered from the milk production cells of cows.
    Redefine Meat has developed a plant-based meat substitute that tastes like meat and recreates the texture of steak.
    Tel Aviv startup Mush Foods is growing mushroom fibers that absorb the flavor of meat and can be used in a 50/50 blend with beef.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Launches Rocket into Space, Nuclear Talks to Resume - Nasser Karimi
    Iranian state television said Sunday that Tehran had launched a solid-fueled rocket capable of carrying a satellite into space. The U.S. warns that such launches defy a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to steer clear of any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
        The White House on Sunday said it was committed to using sanctions and other measures to prevent further advances in Iran's ballistic missile program. The U.S. intelligence community's 2022 threat assessment claims that a satellite launch vehicle "shortens the timeline" to an intercontinental ballistic missile for Iran as it uses "similar technologies."
        EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Saturday after a visit to Tehran that talks over the nuclear deal would resume in the coming days, with Iranian media reporting that Qatar would likely host the negotiations. Iran removed over two dozen International Atomic Energy Agency cameras from its nuclear sites this month. The agency's director called the move a "fatal blow" to the tattered nuclear deal. (AP-Washington Post)
  • U.S. Held Secret Meeting with Israeli, Arab Military Chiefs to Counter Iran Air Threat - Michael R. Gordon
    The U.S. convened a secret meeting of top military officials from Israel and Arab countries at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in March to explore how they could coordinate against Iran's growing missile and drone capabilities. The previously undisclosed talks marked the first time that such a range of ranking Israeli and Arab officers have met under U.S. military auspices to discuss how to defend against a common threat.
        The meeting included Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces; Gen. Fayyadh bin Hamed Al Ruwaili, chief of staff of the Saudi armed forces; Lt.-Gen. Salem Bin Hamad Al-Nabit, who leads Qatar's armed forces; as well as officers from Jordan, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain.
        "Years of continuous attacks with rockets and UAVs by Iran and its proxies have, in the post-Abraham Accords era, helped push together both Israel and a number of its neighbors," said Tom Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "In this game, seconds and inches matter; getting earlier detection and warning, and then establishing a firm track, can be tremendously useful for a defender's ability to engage, identify, and intercept an incoming threat."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israeli Foreign Minister Slams EU Foreign Policy Chief over Iran Outreach - David M. Herszenhorn
    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell visited Tehran to revive negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal and on Saturday said he had secured an agreement to resume talks. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid's response was less than appreciative, accusing Borrell of disregarding the recent Iranian plots to kill Israeli civilians in Turkey. Lapid also told Borrell that his position was very disappointing after the removal of the cameras and the condemnation by the IAEA board.
        Lapid told Borrell, "This is a strategic mistake that sends the wrong message to Iran," said a diplomat briefed on the exchange of messages. "Talking about the great potential in the Iranian context, while Iran is trying to murder Israeli citizens throughout the world and especially in Turkey, indicates a worrying lack of care for the lives of Israeli citizens."  (Politico-EU-Belgium)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Iranian Operatives Arrested in Turkey Incriminate Revolutionary Guards - Yoav Limor
    Iranian members of the cells that hunted Israelis in Istanbul detailed the structure of their terrorist network and implicated Iran during their interrogations in Turkey. They incriminated Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence commander Hossein Taib, whose exposure led to his dismissal last week.
        Three separate cells operated in Istanbul, all under Iranian orders. The first cell planned to abduct and murder the Israeli ambassador and his wife. The second cell followed a group of Israelis in the city's Beyoglu district. The third cell searched for targets at Istanbul's main tourist attractions.
        Israeli officials say the Turks "did everything" to prevent the attacks - from allocating hundreds of police officers and intelligence agents, to permitting Israeli agents to operate on Turkish soil. Indeed, news outlets in Turkey reported that Mossad agents participated in the operation on the ground.
        Cooperation between the Mossad and the Turkish MIT was maintained even throughout the deep diplomatic crisis between the countries, and has helped foil ISIS terrorist attacks in Turkey and plans to target Turkish President Erdogan. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Three Iranian Plots to Attack Israelis in Istanbul Foiled
    Israel's Mossad intelligence agency led Turkish authorities to 10 members of an Iranian cell who were arrested Thursday. A senior Israeli security official said Friday, "The incident is not over. We have not removed the entire threat. Iranian terrorists remain at large in Turkey."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Rejects UN Probe Blaming Reporter's Death on IDF - Emanuel Rabian
    The Israeli military on Friday rejected a UN report claiming that its soldiers killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11. In a statement titled "Where is the bullet?" the Israel Defense Forces again urged the Palestinian Authority to hand over the bullet, as it and government ministers questioned the methodology and fairness of the probe. "The Palestinian refusal to hand over the bullet and hold a joint investigation indicates their priorities," the IDF said. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • In a Journalist's Death, Palestinians Could Reveal More - Editorial
    For journalists covering the world's conflict zones, the occupational hazards include kidnapping, serious injury and even death. A Washington Post investigation is noteworthy for what it did not uncover: proof that an Israeli soldier targeted Shireen Abu Akleh because she was a journalist. Still less did the Post report show that she was "assassinated in cold blood," as Al Jazeera declared within hours of her death.
        The whole incident could have been avoided but for a wave of West Bank-based Palestinian attacks that killed 19 Israelis, most of them civilians, in the six weeks before Abu Akleh's death and to which Israel was responding. (Washington Post)
  • The Drumbeats of War with Iran Have Already Begun - Editorial
    As those in the Middle East keep focused on the nefarious machinations of Iran, Israel has been ahead of the curve in terms of being pro-active in its own defense against nuclear ambitions of the rogue regime. Because the Biden administration has been reluctant to devise a plan that would serve as a realistic deterrent to Iranian aggression, such U.S. allies as Israel are "going it alone" in their quest to defend the safety of their citizenry.
        It is quite obvious that the drumbeats of war have already begun and Iran makes no secret of the fact that it is on the verge of developing a nuclear arsenal that will cause the kind of mass carnage that we only envisioned in our worst nightmares. President Biden must present a bold and intrepid plan to stop Iran from wreaking havoc on the civilized world. The Russian aggression against Ukraine will pale in significance to the utter and complete devastation that Iran will foist upon the world.
        This is Biden's own personal, Churchillian moment if he chooses to embrace it. If he acts with the sort of courage and wisdom that is required, he can spare hundreds of millions of needless deaths. (Jewish Voice)
  • The UN Commission of Inquiry Is an Inquisition - Prof. Anne Bayefsky
    This study on the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry on Israel shines a spotlight on its disturbing methodology of peddling modern anti-Semitism on the world stage. The three members of the commission were appointed precisely because of their non-objectivity, partiality, and bias. Each was on record as having already declared Israel guilty of the crimes that they were tasked with investigating.
        Commission chair Navi Pillay told the Human Rights Council: "We made a general call for written submissions, and we received several thousand written submissions." In fact, a group of NGOs submitted millions of unique written submissions and names of Jewish victims of Arab violence and incitement to Jew-hatred.
        The inquisitors were mandated to look for root causes and the victims of systematic discrimination based on race and religion. But we now know the search will proceed only so long as the root cause is not Arab hatred of Jews, the masses of victims of such hate are not dead Jews, and the refugees are not Jewish.
        The writer is Director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and President of Human Rights Voices. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Britain Must Move Its Embassy to Jerusalem and Move Its Consulate for the Palestinians to Ramallah - Alastair Kirk
    To mark the Queen's 70th year on the throne, earlier this month the United Kingdom hosted parties around the world. However, in Jerusalem, Israel's capital, the UK hosted its Jubilee party for Palestinians, and no Israelis were invited. The reason is because Britain refuses to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Meanwhile, the British consulate to the Palestinians is not in Ramallah, the main Palestinian city; instead, it is in Jerusalem.
        Britain claims that the status of Jerusalem "should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians." On the other hand, Britain adds that "the final determination of Jerusalem must ensure that the holy city is a shared capital of Israel and a Palestinian state," effectively ignoring its own advice by pre-determining the outcome of negotiations.
        The Palestinians have refused to acknowledge the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Yet it is unfathomable for the Jewish connection to Jerusalem to even be called into question. Moreover, if Jerusalem "must" be shared in the UK's opinion, then why does Britain not just recognize west Jerusalem as Israel's capital?
        The writer is the development manager for Christians United for Israel UK. (JNS)

  • President Joe Biden's July 13 visit to Israel will go forward as planned, despite the anticipated change in the country's prime minister. Regardless of who the prime minister is, the agenda remains the same.
    • First, Biden will focus on promoting Israel's integration into the region, building on the Abraham Accords and preparing for additional Arab states to normalize their relations with Israel.
    • Second, Biden will seek to deepen U.S.-Israeli security cooperation, which may include a readiness to fund Israel's anti-missile and anti-drone laser technology. These advances are linked to CENTCOM-led efforts to arrange integrated air defenses among U.S. partners across the region.
    • Third, Biden will advocate steps to improve the atmosphere between Israelis and Palestinians. At the same time, Biden sees no opening for political negotiations at present.
    • Fourth, Biden will seek to coordinate with Israeli strategists on the next phase in dealing with Iran, including the reality of Iran being a threshold nuclear state.
  • All of these priorities have long-term strategic significance beyond the term of any particular government.

    The writer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.

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